The Real Costs of Housing a Legal Document Review Team

Let’s face it, document review is an expensive, time-consuming process. This is true for both the reviewers and the law firm. Reviewers and supervisors typically wake up early, commute to a designated, downtown location in an urban area, and spend hours or days reviewing what seems like endless amounts of information. The process is painful for everyone involved, especially the firms who foot the cost.

Legal document review can become expensive extremely quickly due to its unpredictable nature. One project might require 50 reviewers and three facilities, while the next day may only require 15 reviewers and one facility. While the cost of renting office space is expensive, it’s not just facility costs that plague firms—they also take on utility, IT and administrative costs.

On average, the U.S. per person average office overhead cost is more than $26,000 per year, and this figure is even more in major markets like New York and San Francisco. It’s a staggering amount, especially when it comes to variable project focused work like legal document review. On top of that, firms that need specific locations limit themselves to in-person reviewers and may miss out on lower-cost labor markets, which drives up expenses even more.

By requiring talent to commute to a physical office, law firms also are limited when recruiting reviewers with special skills, such as fluency in multiple languages or sought-after technical knowledge such as patent litigation. If the right people aren’t in location to do the task at-hand, firms can take on even more expense by flying specialty reviewers to the review site.

As a result of the fixed overhead cost burden, firms have struggled to balance the need to keep costs down while still providing a quality service to its clients.

To do this, some firms choose to contract a large portion of business to document review firms, which are typically headlined by large, multinational consulting firms. While this approach has the added benefit of allowing the firm to delegate the review tasks to someone else, the overhead costs remain unchanged.

To combat hyper-inflated fixed costs, firms should consider implementing digital remote monitoring technology that gives document reviewers the ability to work anytime, anywhere. While the legal world is notorious for being slow to adopt new technologies, remote monitoring is an easy-to-use software solution that allows firms to eliminate the cost of maintaining a brick-and-mortar location yetmaintain confidentiality, quality, cost predictability and time management. The technology works by using the workstation webcam to complete a facial scan, ID scan and full system check, before access to the document database is granted.

Once access to the database is approved, the document reviewers are continuously monitored and flagged for policy violations set by clients. This can include talking on the phone, failing to engage in the task at-hand and more. Because of this feature, law firms can ensure the bill they send to their clients for a remote workforce is only billing for tangible work. But most importantly, this allows firms to rest assured that confidentiality and integrity are not being compromised.

Is your firm interested in cutting fixed overhead costs? To learn more about digital remote monitoring, contact us here.